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SWANA Announces 2022 Safety Award Winners

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Awards ceremony to occur at WASTECON® in December

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is proud to announce the 2022 Safety Award Winners representing leading companies and municipalities in the solid waste industry. This year’s winners are North Texas Municipal Water District – Solid Waste Department for Biggest Safety Improvement; Rumpke Waste & Recycling for Best Safety Innovation; and Delaware Solid Waste Authority, Henrico County Solid Waste Division, and Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District for COVID-19 Resiliency.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Athens Services for Biggest Safety Improvement and to North Texas Municipal Water District for Best Safety Innovation.

“SWANA is extraordinarily proud of each of our award winners,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “The competition was fierce for each award, and I thank the Safety Committee members who worked diligently to select the winners, who will be recognized at WASTECON in December,” Biderman added.

SWANA would like to thank Caterpillar, New Way Trucks, Peterbilt, RouteSmart Technologies, and Safe Fleet for their support of this year’s Safety Awards program and for their commitment to improving industry safety.

Biggest Safety Improvement

The 2022 SWANA Safety Award for Biggest Safety Improvement goes to North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) – Solid Waste Department. Through improved training and other efforts, including use of an interactive dashboard, NTMWD was able to successfully address leading and lagging indicators. Eighty-nine percent of identified hazards were abated and the Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) and Days Away, Restricted or Transfer Rate (DART) were cut in half.

“At the North Texas Municipal Water District safety is a core value”, stated Mike Friesen, NTMWD Assistant Deputy – Solid Waste. “NTMWD works daily to deliver essential services while mitigating risks to minimize accidents, injuries, and damage to protect our workers and the public. We are proud of the progress made by our solid waste division. This progress would not have been possible without our staff taking ownership for safety. We applaud our staff for their success in living out our safety values.”

Best Safety Innovation

The 2022 SWANA Safety Award for Best Safety Innovation goes to Rumpke Waste & Recycling. Rumpke's Cincinnati recycling facility installed two FLIR thermal camera systems to detect lithium battery fires and automatically shut down the conveyor. The data collected can be used to replicate and improve similar systems across the recycling industry and it provides facility-specific info about battery-related incidents to better understand the extent of the problem.

“Our team has done a really good job of mitigating a very significant risk to our operations,” stated Jeff Rumpke, West Area President, Rumpke Waste & Recycling. “As batteries continue to plague our recycling stream—these types of investments in equipment, training, and education will aid in our efforts to protect our assets. I’m very proud of our Cincinnati Recycling team who continue to work together to improve and refine this process.”

COVID-19 Resiliency

The 2022 SWANA Safety Award for COVID-19 Resiliency goes to Delaware Solid Waste Authority, Henrico County Solid Waste Division, and Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District. All three successfully implemented OSHA’s hierarchy of controls to respond to and control the spread of COVID-19 in their operations.

Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) stood out for its focus on testing and vaccination. They held numerous vaccination clinics for employees and contractors and implemented a vaccination/testing policy aimed at reducing the spread and severity of the disease. Clinics also offered additional vaccinations such as tetanus, pneumonia, flu, hepatitis, and shingles.

“DSWA is happy to accept this award in honor of each and every one of our employees who demonstrated professionalism, dedication, and resiliency in the face of significant challenges during the pandemic, while providing uninterrupted solid waste service to Delaware,” stated Shelly Forcier, PHR, DSWA Sr. Human Resources Administrator. “We are proud to be part of SWANA and the solid waste community. We are especially grateful for the work of our essential front-line workers.”

Henrico County Solid Waste Division demonstrated resiliency in the development and implementation of its COVID-19 Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) which identified potential scenarios involving worker shortage and provided detailed solutions to maintain essential functions. As service levels fluctuated, they ensured that the public was informed through numerous communication channels.

“The ability of our entire Solid Waste Division to fully embrace safety and wellness throughout the pandemic was pivotal for the continuation of essential services in our community,” stated Josh Byerly, Henrico County Solid Waste Division Assistant Director. “This SWANA award accentuates Henrico’s approach on safety and specifically the mentality our great team exemplifies through the daily commitment to safety and service to Henrico County citizens.”

Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District developed a six-phase, graduated plan that is applicable for infectious disease outbreaks. During each phase the plan reduces the transmission of disease among staff and members of the public, maintains a healthy working environment, minimizes adverse health effects on customers, area waste haulers, and businesses, and provides continued essential services to the community.

“We appreciate SWANA’s recognition of the professional and dedicated work of our team here at Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District,” stated Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District Executive Director Nathan Rich. “The team worked through tough issues to keep our employees safe while providing the high level of service our customers expect.”

The 2022 award winners will be recognized at WASTECON in San Diego, California on Tuesday, December 6. Winners will also be featured during the Safety Summit on December 6 and 7.

For more information, visit https://swana.org/community/awards-scholarships/safety-awards

About SWANA

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

Media Contact

Amanda Suntag,
Marketing Program Manager
240-494-2238
asuntag@swana.org